U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Water Flea Genome Sequenced: Sentinel of Environmental Change
Published: February 07, 2011
Posted: March 17, 2011

The water flea Daphnia pulex is a keystone species of freshwater ecosystems, a principal grazer of algae, a primary food source for fish, a sentinel of still water inland ecosystems, and a sentinel species used to assess the ecological impact of environmental change. The genome of this species has just been sequenced by DOE’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI). They find that the Daphnia genome is only 200 megabases in size, but contains at least 30,000 genes, which is thought to be about 25% more than in the human genome. More than a third of Daphnia’s genes have no detectable homologs in any other available proteome, and the largest gene families are specific to the Daphnia lineage. These Daphnia-specific genes, including many additional sequenced genes that have not been assigned any functions, are the most responsive genes to ecological challenges. These results will enable better understanding of real-world environmental changes through knowledge of how a genome responds to gene-environment interactions. The study is published in the February 4, 2011, issue of Science magazine.

Reference: Colbourne, J. K., et al. 2011. “The Ecoresponsive Genome of Daphnia pulex,” Science 331, 555–61.

Contact: Dan Drell, SC-23.2, (301) 903-4742
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI)

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)